< History
by Pit Przygodda

In 1980, when I was 12 years old, my parents bought my first synthesizer, a KORG MS-20.
About 6 years later I took part in a course for stop-motion-movie by Alexandra Schatz in Hannover. She showed films by Norman Mc Laren. This was the first time I became aware of the optical soundtrack. Norman Mc Laren painted directly on the soundtrack with pens to create sound, and so did we, - the participants of the course.
In 1992, I was 24 years old and a student for experimental-film at the art-academy-hamburg (germany). In the stop-motion-class of professor Franz Winzentsen we (the students) started working on blank-film-material to get an idea of the relationsship between time while screening and length of the material. As a music-addicted I drove my attention to the sound-track on the film-material (it was 35mm-material with optical sound!) So I glued curtains on the film material even on the optical-sound-track, because I knew that the periodical structures of the curtains would generate steady tones, not noise. So it was. The film is called "Gardine Sing Sing" ("curtain sing sing"). ("Johannes Przygodda" = "Pit Przygodda")
I have been on several media festivals in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands with "gardine sing sing", it was on Arte-TV and it is part of the movie-compilation "Deutsche Experimentalfilme der 90er Jahre" by the Goethe-Institut. It is distributed by "Light-Cone", Paris, France.

For years and years I had this idea in the back of my mind and I wondered how to go on with it some day. In the meantime I had a practical course at ponton-media-art-lab, Hannover (with Benjamin Heidersberger and Salvatore Vanasco), which had a artistic motivation at that time. We were thinking about music and sound in 3-D-space. Some years later I was working at "Steinberg" (Cubase etc.) in the service department. There I had some contact to devellopers and programmers. All these years I talked about that topic with my filmmaker-friend Jan Peters and other musical and artistic collegues again and again. Until I suddely knew how to make it. It has to be a software, which transforms video-data in real time into audio-data! But I could not do it myself, because I am not a programmer. Some programmer-friends of mine tried to work on the project but they never had enough time and energy for it. Than after a while, I started trying something with Pure-Data - and - it worked!
After all that years I realized that it was not only my idea which was not ripe - when I started thinking on that idea the computers weren´t able yet to do such a job. At that time I had an ATARI ST 1040!

I have been at the Synthesizer-Fair "Superbooth 16" (Berlin) in 2016 with a first prototype-setup. I named it "videovox", ("video"="to see", "vox"="voice), but many people had the misunderstanding, that they thought it was a machine to generate pictures from sound, a VJ-machine. From a distance they didn't get the point that it was just the other way round: pictures create sound. So I changed the name to "SILHOUETTE", what suits well the fact that the main-idea was to get into the shapes of audio-waveforms by performing with silhouettes, e.g. your hand.
Since then I have performances (with a concert-part and a discussion-part) with
SILHOUETTE to get more experience with it, how to use it and what is the effect on an audience. At the moment it seem not only to be a sound-synthesizer where you can get an inspiring approach to sounds but also a machine which shows its visual material on an screen.
In summer 2018 I built the first SILHOUETTE prototype. It was made of wood and HDF-plate. Maybe also as a reaction to the experiences of Superbooth 16 I was planning to make an offensive design. So I added 2 joysticks. In the beginning the build-in computer was my Laptop.
When Superbooth 19 came into view I wanted to get my synth to the point that other musicians and artists could buy and use it. Of course it should be made of metal. The building was kindly supported by friends. But time was short and the migration of the technique plus new features from Prototype 1 to 2 brought many problems.
So our appearance at Superbooth 19 was close to workshop. But fortunately I managed to get the camera and the lighttable back to work the night before 1st day of Superbooth. Many visitors reacted very kindly.
Now I finish SILHOUETTE Prototype 2 with kind electronic help by René Schmitz , who added 2 analog filters.
In 2020 the corona virus paralyzed the world. Superbooth 20 became an online event, where I did not appear with Silhouette. I used the time gap for a further, deeper concept. René Schmitz and others gave some good feedback and so I develloped a concept which mainly includes the function to generate waves not only for audio but also for slow use for modulation and sequencing. This new concept is called "Silhouette eins".

I would like to finsh this text with a memory of Edwin Welte and his "Welte-Lichttonorgel" (1930), which is kind of a predecessor for SILHOUETTE.

- Pit Przygodda, June 2019 -

Public Presentations
2019 Superbooth Synth-fair, Berlin, GER
2018 "Interim" and workshop for students at the Kunsthochschule, Kassel GER
2018 Küsterscheune, Betzendorf, GER
2017 Chavis-Kulturcafe, Hamburg, GER
2017 1st public presentation, "Kino im Sprengel". Hannover, GER
2016 Superbooth Synth-fair, Berlin, GER

Further inspirations:
- Laurie Anderson
- Norman Mc Laren
- Jörn Zehe ("Singer Borletti")
- Brian Eno (Lightworks)
- Caspar Brötzmann
- John Zorn, "Cobra"
- Robert Fripp: "Frippertronics"
- Oskar Fischinger ("Sounding Ornaments")
- my bloody valentine: "Tremolo EP"
(list uncomplete)

Thanks to:
Joseph Winkler
Rene Schmitz
Jan Gieseke
everybody around Pure Data
Franz Winzentsen
Rüdiger Neumann
Hille Köhne
Gerd Roscher
Jan Peters
Angus Baigent
Ole Winkler
Ansgar Wilken
Thomas Siebert
Adalbert Winkler
Michael Spork
Sebastian Mecklenburg
Benjamin Heidersberger
Kino im Sprengel, Hannover
Silke Arp bricht
my friends who support me
my wife and my family
my parents who support me

supported by:

Film - und Mediengesellschaft
Niedersachsen / Bremen mbH